By Ojo Peter, Ibadan
The man, Oluwaseyi Abiodun Makinde, a reputable Engineer is one person many people do not understand. Yet, they could feel and see physically his numerous achievements in the one year he has spent as the 28th Executive Governor of Oyo State.
The Ibadan born tall, handsome, energetic and hardworking Governor has remained a mystery to Ibadans while some even call him magician even though he knows nothing about the art of magic. He never attended any magic school except the University of Lagos where he bagged his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
Makinde, however, came to Oyo at a time many people had lost hope because of the lack of will to develop the State on the part of some of the past rulers. He came at a period when almost every sector was working in the opposite direction. And like Moses rescued the Israelites out of Egypt, Makinde came with his staff, struck the red sea that had been blocking the progress of the State and the sea was divided into two for Ibadans to pass through to the promised land.
At the inception of his administration one year ago, many Ibadans likened him to a snail too slow to govern a State that needed rapid development like Oyo. But unknown to his critics, Makinde was only being tactful and calculative in his approach in accordance with a saying that slow and steady wins the race.
One year have rolled by since he assumed office as the Chief Executive of the State and in order to know whether he has performed well or otherwise, it is necessary to go into the records and see what he promised at the inception of his Administration.
“I am greatly honoured to stand before you today to assume the overwhelming mandate you have given me.
“This inaugural address will not dwell on the past but look to the future because of the urgency and the magnitude of the task ahead of us.
“We want all of you to be a part of the implementation as we work together to move our state forward. We may make decisions that are sometimes uncomfortable but we will try our best to always be just, fair and act with the fear of God.
“I am here as your governor to serve you. I will work tirelessly and take responsibility for the workings of every sector. While I will delegate effectively, the buck will stop with me. I want you to hold me accountable and I will also hold you accountable as we work as partners to bring Oyo State to glory.
“We will be a progressive administration; building on the programmes of past administrations that were structured properly and have properly and have been beneficial to the masses. When the need arises, we will consult our predecessors and draw on their experiences. We will put aside partisan politics for the good of our state.
“We will bring in new ideas and explore new initiatives. We will partner with local and foreign investors, some of whom are here with us today.
“I was drawn to politics because I saw the way the wealth meant for everyone was being siphoned by a few to enrich themselves while leaving the masses in desperate poverty and dehumanizing suffering, and our land in ruin. We have an opportunity to change this and we will.
Before he came to office, Ibadan, the State capital, could not match most other State capitals in terms of good road network and good lighting system. But with Makinde’s determination to transform the state, he refurbished the hitherto bad roads in Ibadan and started the construction of new ones where necessary. And as for the provision of street light, his dream of turning Ibadan to Paris in terms of illumination is gradually coming to pass. Makinde has been able to use his knowledge as an Engineer to provide street light on all the roads he refurbished.
Like a mystery which he is to many, a lot of people criticized him when he embarked on the street light project calling him all sorts of name. They could not see any reason why he was fixing street light when PHCN is still epileptic, but Makinde being a visionary leader knew what he was doing.
In the field of health, the master tactician, has been able to perform more than the expectations of Ibadans. Apart from distributing drugs worth millions of Naira to the existing hospitals in the State, he is also constructing more hospitals in the state.
In September he installed and commissioned the Radio-diagnostic Unit, a surgical operation theater and an automated medical laboratory at the Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road, to ensure quality healthcare delivery to the people of Oyo State.
To affirm that he means business for the people of Oyo State in the area of healthcare, in his budget 2020 speech he delivered recently, he said, “In the next fiscal year, similar facilities will be rebuilt or renovated in other State Hospitals, Similarly, the General Hospitals in Eruwa, Tede and Iseyin will be renovated in the 2020 fiscal year.
“With this development, there is greater pressure on health facilities and thus a need for more personnel. I have, therefore, given approval for the recruitment of five hundred (500) Medical and Health Workers in our hospitals, at the State College of Nursing and Midwifery as well as the College of Health Science and Technology.
In the education sector, Makinde has done a lot to win the heart of the students. No wonder, many of his supporters are students. Apart from paying the examination fees of secondary school students throughout the state, the amiable Governor, who has been to work wonders at the state-owned Colleges of Education; The Polytechnic, Ibadan; Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo; The Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa; The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki; Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technically, Igbo-Ora; The College of Education, Lanlate; The Technical University, Ibadan; School of Nursing and Midwifery, Eleyele, Ibadan; College of Hygiene and Health Technology, Eleyele, Ibadan.
In all these institutions, one can see Makinde’s hand work physically. The road network of these institutions have changed for better while physical developments are going on everywhere.
Not only this, he had given bursary to Oyo students who, before the coming of Makinde, had forgotten anything that has to do with bursary award.
He declared free education in public primary schools and public secondary schools in the state. He also cancelled Development Levy of N3000 paid by students across all the primary and secondary schools in the state.
A total of 1,515,864 exercise books of 60 pages each were distributed to pupils in public primary schools and junior secondary schools, and each of the 252,644 pupils got six exercise books each.
In the senior secondary school classes, a total of 1,266,942 exercise books were also distributed to students and each of the 211,157 students were given six exercise books of 80 leaves each.
Just as in his campaign slogan; ‘new dawn has arrived in Oyo State, pensioners are happy, workers are happy, everybody is feeling the impact of Makinde’s administration.
Immediately after he was sworn-in, he dedicated his tenure salary to pensioners union, and he has not gone back on that promise as they have been getting the alert of his monthly salary in the Unions account.
Workers in the state receive their salary on the 25th of every month and whenever it falls on a weekend, say Saturday or Sunday, Makinde usually pay ahead of the time. Is he not God-sent?
Also, retired primary school teachers in the state now receive their full salaries as against the part-payment received under the last administration.
In the area of peace maintainance, Ibadan has been enjoying peace since the inception of this Administration. The reason for this is not because Makinde is a magician, as some would want us belief, but because he knows what it takes to have a peaceful society. He has been very supportive to the security agencies in the state. Just recently, he distributed 100 Kia Rio 1.4 executive automatic transmission patrol vehicles equipped with modern communication facilities to strengthen the security architecture of the state and equally launched the state’s Security Code 615.
The question people are asking is who is this Makinde and what is the secret behind his success? Governor Makinde is a very simple man but a strict disciplinarian who will not compromise quality. He is a very hard-working man who derives happiness when others are glad.